Op-Ed: Pat Robertson’s Calculated Choice

Two cents! That’s exactly what I hope the value of Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani is for president.

Robertson and some other members of the Christian Right seem to be more swayed by public opinion polls, perceived candidate viability, and anti-Hillaryism than core Christian values. In a pinch, Robertson and others are willing to ditch Christian values in favor of a “man” who looks like he might be able to beat a democrat.

Robertson is the head of Christian Broadcasting Network and the "700 Club," which have potential influence over thousands of Christians. Although both organizations do good works, their leader is a bit of a wild card.

To Robertson, God is a republican. As a republican, God hates democrats. Until recently, Robertson’s God sought to protect the country from gays and lesbians, terrorists, liberal judges, and radical feminists. Now Robertson’s God has no problem with a pro-choice, thrice married liberal who has flip-flopped on current issues and shown intolerance for racial minorities.

In making his endorsement of Giuliani, Robertson stated, “To me, the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists. Our second goal should be the control of massive government waste and crushing federal deficits… For months I have contemplated our future and the outstanding group of men who are offering themselves to the Republican Party to be its standard bearer in the 2008 presidential election. It is my pleasure to announce my support for a mayor, America’s mayor, Rudy Giuliani, and a proven leader, who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans.”

What hypocrisy! If conservative leaders are true to their purported values, their only real choice is between Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who withdrew from the race, and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who trails in the polls because of the failure of Christian leaders like Robertson and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council to embrace him.

Huckabee is the only candidate who scores high on most factors the Christian right claims to value along with appealing to other voters because of his sincerity and common sense.

Huckabee is married to his original wife, he professes an unequivocal belief in Jesus Christ and he has taken a lifelong stance against abortion and gay marriage. Moreover, he speaks of an obligation to assist the poor and a need to respect, if not protect, the environment.

Why is the Right so wrong? Mr. Robertson would do well to reflect on Isaiah 5:30: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Likewise, Psalm 20:7 has something relevant for Christians to chew on: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

Christians should not be so ready to compromise on values just because the numbers look poor and the odds long.

Carol Swain is a professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University. She recently edited the book, Debating Immigration and is a frequent guest on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” This article was originally published in The Tennessean on Nov. 11.

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